How to make an old dog comfortable is a subject all of us will deal with at some point. And it's not easy. It's emotional and it can be stressful.
When I was caring for my dearly departed Charley, I was fumbling around in the dark, to begin with. But once I got the hang of it, the experience was joy-giving and rewarding for both of us.
So I'm pleased to share this post by Nick Burton over at Our Best Doggo. He shares some super simple care tips you can follow to make the life of your senior dog comfortable. And they're actionable today, so you can get started immediately!
How to Make an Old Dog Comfortable – Care Tips
Giving your fur baby your time and attention is more than just a responsibility. Caring for them, playing, and simply enjoying time together is what makes being a pet owner so rewarding.
For many of us, we’re so busy having fun that our pet’s senior years seem to creep up before we know it. Your pet’s needs change at this stage of life, which means care should evolve too.
Stay on Top of Health Checks
Your pet needs regular vet care at every age, but this becomes especially important as they get older.
Checkups give you and your vet the chance to diagnose and treat any conditions that are common with pet aging, such as arthritis, diabetes, and cognitive issues.
Along with getting wellness checks, VetStreet recommends keeping an eye out for signs of problems. Symptoms that warrant a trip to the vet include changes in bathroom habits (incontinence, constipation or diarrhea), changes in appetite or drinking, any lumps or stiffness.
The Right Food and Supplements for Healthy Aging
Your aging pet’s nutritional needs are different now, so, if you're feeding kibble it’s a good idea to switch to a senior formula food.
Also, consider adding more moisture to their food as some senior dogs tend to consume less water. You can easily do this by adding a few scoops of a homemade broth to their meals.
If your pet isn’t as interested in food as they used to be, the first thing to do is visit the vet to rule out health conditions. Some health issues like constipation, pain from arthritis, and medication side effects could be affecting their appetite.
You can work around many of these issues by making their food more appealing and using raised bowls
Along with diet, supplements can also help your pet live better and stay healthier while aging.
Many pet parents are now using CBD oil, which has been shown to help relieve joint pain and inflammation in older pets, as well as helping with skin issues, anxiety, and phobia.
If you’re new to the world of CBD oil, Remedy Review provides a detailed look at the top 10 CBD oils in 2019. This is a great way to decide if CBD oil may be the right solution for your dog. As with all supplements, you should always check with your vet first.
Work with Their Limits (and Abilities)
If your senior pet starts slowing down a bit, they’re giving you a sign that they aren’t up to the same level of activity.
At the same time, not getting enough activity can lead to weight problems (which makes arthritis worse) and cognitive problems like depression and anxiety.
The trick is to find the right balance so they’re getting plenty of playtime and exercise without overdoing it.
Your senior dog also needs mental stimulation. Puppy Leaks recommends activities for keeping your dog engaged that don’t involve being physically active.
Hiding treats for a game of “hide and seek” or using treat-filled toys are perfect activities that also boost nutrition. Giving your older dog chew toys is another way to create mental stimulation that doesn’t require too much exertion.
You can even teach an old dog new tricks, as long as you stick with something simple that doesn’t put a strain on them, both mentally and physically.
Keep Them Safe and Comfortable
It’s normal for older pets to develop mobility issues, but you can help them by making some changes around your house.
If you have hard surface floors, adding rugs is an easy way to help pets get better traction and prevent falls that could cause injury.
Ramps, meanwhile, are helpful if your pet is used to jumping on furniture. Think about where your pup sleeps too, as older dogs need a bed with extra support for achy joints.
Besides addressing comfort and accessibility, you can help older pets feel better by treating them with alternative therapies.
I Heart Dogs recommends water therapy and massage as two treatments that can ease pain, improve health, and reduce anxiety.
The physical and mental changes that older pets experience can be hard on you both. Aging isn’t easy — for pets or people.
Now that you have these care tips on how to make an old dog comfortable, you can ease these troubles, and even bring your older pet new joys in life, by adapting some routines to maximize their health and comfort.
Nick and Mary Burton help dog owners around the world care for and nurture their aging dogs. They have a passion for finding unique ways to ease the aging process, and support owners in mourning the loss of their dogs. You can find them over at their site OurBestDoggo.com for more in-depth information and advice.